The Health and Social Care Information Centre will suspend the collection of the secondary uses service data for nearly two weeks as part of a process to bring collection of the vital NHS dataset in-house.
The data service, also known as SUS, will be unavailable from 5pm on Friday until 3 March as the system is moved from a BT system to a new in-house system. The information centre has said any impact on trusts would be “very low”.
SUS data is used by hospitals to bill for operations under the payment by results system and other “secondary uses” that do not directly relate to care provision, such as healthcare planning and commissioning services.
Speaking to journalists to explain the move, the information centre’s director of operations and assurance services, Rob Shaw, said it was not possible to say how many trusts could be affected by the planned suspension of data collection, but stressed the centre had consulted users and that the timing had been designed to keep potential disruption to a minimum.
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Mr Shaw said: “The impact to SUS users is very low. It’s literally lift and shift… There is never a good time to take the system down but what we have worked out [with users] is [the time which will have] the least impact.”
A statement issued by the information centre following questions from HSJ said: “The SUS downtime has been planned so that it does not impact on major timetabled activities and causes the least possible disruption by fitting around key dates in relation to the service.”
SUS is governed by “a defined timetable of activity to upload information (inclusion) and for this data to be processed and published (publication)”, the statement said.
Providers submit the data every month before the inclusion date. The data is then processed by the information centre and data extracts are created. These extracts are made available to commissioners on the publication date, the statement said.
It said “planned downtime” would be kept “to an absolute minimum and staff will be working around the clock to get the system up and running as quickly as possible”.
The new Care Identity Service, the system that manages smartcard access for over 900,000 health and care workers, is also being moved in-house from BT as part of the programme.